Is it possible to plant aloe vera without roots? Spoiler alert: yes. You can plant aloe vera from offsets/offshoots (pups) directly into a new container.
The question becomes not how to plant aloe vera without roots but which are the most successful propagation methods for this succulent with so many benefits?
Let’s explore everything we need to know about how to plant aloe vera without roots because it can be propagated without roots. But it remains to know how exactly.
In the wild, aloe plants produce flowers (red, orange, yellow, gold, and white), which spread their seeds to produce new life.
For us, we’re left with separating the pups from the root system. Aloe Variegata (tiger aloe) is one of the most popular grown in homes because it has a low height, requires little care, little water and minimal sun exposure
How to Plant Aloe Vera Without Roots from Offsets (Offshoots)
In general, most succulents are very easy to propagate. Many varieties, if they’re grown in ideal conditions, they will self-propagate.
When it comes to knowing how to plant aloe vera without roots, you should focus on propagation from offsets. This is the most successful propagation method. It will lead to a new plant almost immediately.
Offsets or offshoots are a clones of the mother plant. They’re produced by mature plants, like pups of babies.
They looks just like tiny aloe vera leaves, you really can’t miss them. The problem is finding someone who has a mature aloe vera plant with offshoots. The aloe babies are also spotted with white dots.
In order to understand how is it possible for aloe to produce offshoots, you must understand its root structure.
The roots spider into the ground/soil and remain close to the top. Thus, the roots are capable of better absorbing moisture and store it for later use. The roots create the circumference of an earthworm, which in time will produce offshoots of new growth.
These new pups are not just an extension of the mother plant. They simple become entirely new plants that can be removed and replanted. That’s why planting offsets is the easiest and fastest way to grow new aloe vera plants.
How to Remove Offsets from Aloe
Wait until the pup is one fifth of the mother plant or has at least three leaves.
Remove the dirt from around the offset and then see where you can cut it.
The idea is that the offset needs to come off from the soil with its roots attached. If we were to be technical we would say that this is not how to plant aloe vera without roots because the offshoot needs to have roots in order to plant it.
Use a sharp knife or a pair of scissors to cut the pups.
The quick way to remove aloe pups
I think that the easiest way is to simply remove the whole plant from the pot together with the offsets and then you’ll be able to see exactly how far their roots spread out.
You just have to get the soil loosened up from the sides of the pot, in order to get the whole plant out with offsets and all.
Clean the excess soil so that you can see all the roots better.
Loosen the offsets with a knife and then just pull them from the soil.
Then, you can replant the mother plant in the same pot.
Just make sure not to make a complete mess. It’s so much easier if you can do it outdoors somewhere.
How to Plant Aloe Pups (Offsets) in 9 Steps
1. You will plant the aloe offshoot as soon as it has been removed from the mother plant. You can plant a bunch of them in a smaller pot and then transplant them as they grow bigger.
2. Grab your pot and soil.
3. Fill the pot with soil – about 2/3 parts full is good.
4. Put the pup(s) in.
5. Cover the offset(s) with soil uniformly and make sure to surround them with your potting mix because the soil needs to hold them up, especially if the pups are bigger.
6. The important aspect is to make them to stand up – you can press on the soil a bit, especially if you’re using a light cactus soil.
7. On top of that you can sprinkle a bit of worm compost, if you have some around because it needs to be sprinkled in small quantities.
8. You can water them thoroughly after a couple of days because they already have small roots. Cuttings should be left to sit in the soil for a week before being watered.
9. After that, you can take care of it as you would of any full-grown aloe plant.
Best Soil for Aloe Vera (Succulents & Cacti)
Let’s start with the soil because it’s very important to use a well-draining potting soil.
You can go for cactus potting mix since those are succulents, too.
Or you can make your own mix: potting soil mixed with with pumice/vermiculite and small pebbles. Don’t add a lot of compost because these plants are not made for nutrient-rich soils that retain water for a long time.
If you’re planting outdoors in the garden, you should create a small mound and plant the aloe atop or plant it at the top of a slope so that the water drains away from the roots.
Best Container for Planting Aloe Vera without Roots
Choose a terra cotta pot that’s on the larger size so that the roots have room to grow.
Don’t choose one made from glass because it doesn’t allow roots to breath, which can lead to root rot in the future.
It depends on the type of aloe that you’re planting but it’s best to go for a 6-inch pot.
You can start off with a 3 inch pot if you’re growing Aloe descoingsii. It’s the smallest of all aloe species.
When it matures, it should have 1-2 inches clearance on each side.
The container should provide room for 3-5 times the original size of the root system. That will enable sufficient growth for up to 2 years.
Can You Propagate Aloe Vera from Cuttings?
Propagating from cuttings works for cactus and you might think that it will work for aloe, since they’re both succulents.
Instead you might just waste your time and end up with a rotten or a dried leaf.
That happens with aloe plants because their cuttings have a high moisture content (that gel we use), which will prevent them from becoming viable plants.
An aloe leaf has three parts: odorless and clear inner gel, bitter yellowish sap (latex), and the thick outer layer (rind).
The answer to how to plant aloe vera without roots is definitely not from leaf cuttings.
I found a guide for propagating from cuttings, if you still want to try it out and see if it is a viable method for how to plant aloe vera without roots.
Aloe Vera Live Plants
If my guide on how to plant aloe vera without roots is too much work for you, you can buy an aloe vera live plant and skip all these steps.
1. Costa Farms Aloe Vera Live Indoor Plant
For a really affordable price, we get 2 live aloe vera plants.
The plants will be shipped in their own containers.
Each pot has a 4-inch diameter. They’re quite small, you’ll want to transplant them in a bigger pot sooner rather than later.
However, as it grows, it will probably need a bigger container. Check out my reviews for the best pots for snake plants if you want to see what types of containers succulents enjoy the most.
It has a 10-inch height. It’s not overly big but it’s certainly a lot bigger than an offset.
2. I Love Tropicals 5″ Aloe Vera Plant
The first you’ll notice about this aloe vera plant is the container it arrives in. It’s a really beautiful container.
Given the considerably higher price, we should definitely expect to receive our live aloe plant in a very beautiful pot.
Their plant pots are sourced in eco-friendly ways.
This is a natural bamboo pot. It’s gorgeous. Even though terracotta planters are the best for succulents and cacti, as long as your don’t overwater your succulent, nothing will go wrong even if you’re growing it in a plastic or bamboo planter.
The plant is on the smaller side with a 5 inches height.
How to Take Care of Aloe Vera
When it comes to knowing how to plant aloe vera without roots, before doing that, you should know a few facts:
- it prefers frost-free zones – if you live somewhere where winters get really cold, plant it in a pot from the beginning and move it indoors when winter arrives
- likes full sun or light shade – in the winter, there might be a need to use grow lights for succulents
- you should let the soil dry before watering thoroughly
- set up drainage holes and empty the dish that accumulates the excess water
- it needs to be watered a bit more frequently than other succulents or cacti – aloe vera can be watered once a week during the warm months and once every 2 weeks during the winter, depends how hot temperatures outside get or how warm your house is in the winter
- it’s active between the months of April and October
- during this active period, you can also use a fertilizer for succulents, about 4 times per month
- the larger size can grow leaves that extend up to 1.2 meters – I’ve seen them on abrupt hills and they’re a spectacular sight
- there are also miniature versions – definitely go for these if you’re living in a smaller place
- it doesn’t mind a little neglect
- absolutely perfect for growing indoors
- even if you have to be away for a week or maybe even two if you have watered it thoroughly before leaving, it will be perfect when you get back
So, that’s all there is you need to know about how to plant aloe vera without roots from offsets (pups), it’s an easy process but it can get a bit more messy.